Bruce Smith chafes at Tony Boselli’s Hall of Fame campaign


JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Bruce Smith is still not a fan of Tony Boselli.

The former Buffalo Bills passing thrower took to Instagram on Tuesday morning with a lengthy post, claiming he’s been quiet about Pro Football Hall of Fame-bound Boselli for too long. Smith took issue with what he perceived to be a negative and underhanded campaign against him in the case to boost Boselli’s credentials.

The former Jaguars left tackle was elected to the Hall last February and will be inducted in August. He is the first Jacksonville player to be inducted into Canton.

And Smith, whom Boselli blocked in a playoff game in 1996, is still resentful of being a central figure in Boselli’s story. Smith said the tactics employed by those defending Boselli for Canton were “underhanded” because they focused on that one-game performance and tried to portray Smith negatively in order to elevate Boselli. It’s not hall of fame etiquette, Smith said.

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“Much of the campaign to promote Tony Boselli to the Hall of Fame seems hyper-focused on a single successful performance he had against me in a playoff game in 1996,” Smith wrote. “On the one hand, I’m quite flattered to be considered the gold standard by which another player’s play can be measured to determine their qualification in the HOF. But on a more serious level, I and other HOFers believe it sets a horrible precedent to focus negatively on a permanent member of the Hall’s play in order to validate a candidate’s candidacy.

“HOF is an exclusive fellowship that follows an unspoken code of conduct that promotes respect and fellowship among its members. Given the chance, any Hall of Fame member could use their credentials to brag about their dominance over another member, but such behavior is deemed inappropriate due to the friction and discord that he could create within the group. Maintaining harmony and goodwill in the HOF is paramount, and that is precisely why player campaigns have always been presented with respect and thought, allowing the statistics and overall work of the candidate to speak for themselves. themselves.

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“Using underhanded tactics, such as targeting a HOFer and promoting a match-at-a-match to bolster a candidate’s merit, as some of Tony’s supporters have done, undermines the integrity of the process. Hall election. It also invites otherwise unnecessary comment and scrutiny of this candidate’s worthiness for membership in the HOF. Since Tony’s lawyers slid headlong down this slippery slope and dragged me away against their will, I have a few thoughts to share.

“Tony has been a formidable opponent in his brief career, but I find it hard to compare all of his work to that of the NFL’s greatest left tackles. With the exception of the legendary Anthony Munoz; Jonathan Ogden, Willie Roaf and Walter Jones have all protected the quarterback’s blindside for 12 or more seasons.In Jacksonville, Leon Searcy had the daunting task of protecting the blindside of Mark Brunell, while Tony benefited from quarterback protection -extremely talented and mobile left-handed back.

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“In my nineteen years in the NFL, several outstanding LTs, such as Bruce Armstrong, Richmond Webb and Will Wilford, have all had stellar games against me. Maybe they too would be wise to create HOF campaigns highlighting this fact.

Boselli faced Smith, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, in Jacksonville’s first-ever playoff game of 1996. The Jaguars stunned Buffalo 30-27, a game that significantly raised Boselli’s national profile.

Smith had 13.5 sacks and 90 tackles this season. Smith had just three tackles in that playoff game and wasn’t a factor.

Boselli, who was selected No. 2 in Southern Cal’s 1995 draft for the expansion Jaguars, played left tackle for the team until 2001. The blow to Boselli’s candidacy was never his production was a shortened curriculum vitae.

Boselli was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro.

Shoulder injuries cut his career short.

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Boselli played 91 regular season games and six in the playoffs with Jacksonville. He was left unprotected by the team in the 2002 expansion draft and was picked No. 1 overall by the Texans. Boselli never played with Houston and retired that year.

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